The development of techniques to analyse and manipulate nucleic acids has revolutionised the study of biology and provided the key driver for the massive expansion in biotechnology. Subsequent to this has been the emergence of the fields of genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics that are now the focus of the most exciting new advances in biotechnology and have led to the emerging discipline of synthetic biology.
Synthetic biology is an area of biotechnology research that can be broadly described as the design and construction of novel artificial biological systems, pathways, organisms or devices, or the re-design of existing natural biological systems (Royal Society, UK).
DNA fingerprinting methodologies, selection and hybridisation methods will also be discussed, and the use of reporter genes to measure non-invasively the expression of genes, to set up novel mutant screens will be discussed.
Three lectures will be concerned with some of the underpinning technologies in genomics with special emphasis on next generation sequencing as applied to transcriptomics and chromatin immune precipitation techniques.
All of this is underpinned by a series of practical classes which jointly show how CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, an exciting new method, can be used to edit a gene in human cell genomes which is associated with cancer development. The practicals are designed to provide first-hand experience of key procedures and are linked to the first 9 lectures of the course to reinforce theory.
Many of the core lectures will be pre-recorded (available on Moodle and YouTube) and you need to listen to these lectures ahead of meeting (either in person or, most likely, online via Zoom, one lecture ahead of each meeting). These meetings will be essential to discuss the material of the lectures further, for practical training to prepare you for the assignments and also to listen to student presentations.